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Precap to the Sept. 10, 2012 episode of WWE 'Monday Night Raw' or, the one before Night of Champions

Cena! Punk! Heyman! Surprise Appearances! R! E! S! P! E! C! T! WWE Championship!

You know what I said last week? About how CM Punk is being turned into a vanilla heel, that he is using the cheapest tactics to pick up heat, and that this year's version of John Cena vs. Punk is "boring" in comparison to last year's?

I'm just going to go ahead and take that all back.

One of the things that makes pro wrestling so great is how just when you think you have all the answers, the question changes. There are certainly times when there are swerves just to swerve, or when those in charge don't have enough faith in their own product to let the story play out in a natural progression. It's holdover of "Crash TV" in the 90's, it's weak, it's lazy, and it has outlived its usefulness by a large margin.

But then there are those moments of pure surprise, when you are given something that you didn't even know was possible.

Last week (Sept. 3) was one of those moments. CM Punk had walked out of Allstate Arena, refusing to fight Sheamus if he wasn't in the main event. He then came back at the end of the show to interfere in Cena's and Alberto Del Rio's Falls Count Anywhere match. It was entertaining, yes, but hardly anything out of the box. The WWE Champion would deliver a GTS to Cena using the hood of his car, hop into the passenger seat, and for a moment that seemed like all there was for the night.

Out popped Paul Heyman's greasy head from the driver's side window, though, and suddenly everything seemed different.

This could change the entire landscape of the WWE Championship picture. I don't know how long Heyman will be working with Punk. I don't know if this is the start of a new stable. I don't even know if Punk and Heyman will be enough to overcome Super Cena.

What I do know is this. It was unexpected. It was smart.

And it was awesome.

We'll see how this plays out going forward. As of right now, though, as long as Heyman is looking down at an unconscious Cena, things are looking up for the main event of Raw.

The rest of the show after the jump.

AJ! Vickie! Pushing Buttons! Emotional Instability!

AJ Lee is losing control of the show, and losing control of her mind. She had her champion walk out on her. Jack Swagger, Punk's replacement against Sheamus, also said he had enough and bounced after getting squashed. Vickie Guerrero tried to pull her best Randy Savage impersonation and occupied the ring until she received an apology from the Raw General Manager. AJ would end up giving Vickie the apology, revealing that the ever-omniscient Board of Directors had chastised her. This was quickly followed by a hard slap from Vickie and a temper tantrum any 13-year old girl would be proud of.

The cracks are starting to show in AJ's reign as GM. It is becoming a simple matter of waiting to see how spectacularly it will fall apart. Will this stay between AJ and Vickie, or are they planning on brining anyone else into this mess? It is probably for the best if this story stays as small as possible. I wouldn't, however, call the last few weeks spectacular television. If the WWE is going down this path, might as well make it entertaining.

Random thought of the Precap: how awesome would it be if this ended with an AJ Lee vs. Stephanie McMahon slap fight?

Bryan! Kane! Hug It Out! So Close!

Daniel Bryan and Kane were this close to finally settling their differences. They worked together to drop poor Harold on head. The WWE Universe had decided the two needed to hug it out in the middle of the ring. After much stalling, the two finally entered an embrace that would bring a tear to any bros eye. It was all so beautiful. If these two could get along, then perhaps there was indeed hope for all of mankind.

Like Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, though, perhaps something so perfect just wasn't meant to be.

Bryan and Kane were quickly back at each other's throats; the feud (and hopefully the anger management classes) continues. This is an angle that, on paper, should not work. However, Bryan along with a surprisingly great Kane knows exactly how to play the part. I don't doubt for a second that he will be able to flip the switch when he's back to chasing the title. He is too good at everything he does to not be taken seriously as a main eventer when the time calls for it. When most of the roster is either in the title picture or wallowing in obscurity, a legitimate storyline is better than having the fans forget you exist.

Everything Else! Bullet Points!

  • Tonight is "Pat Patterson Appreciation Night," and features the return of Bret Hart to the site of the ‘97 Survivor Series. These may only be local gimmicks that take place when the cameras are turned off, but I wouldn't mind a good Heath Slater squash.
  • Wade Barrett is back everybody! And there was much rejoicing.

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